Beloved Central Texas educator retires after more than 40 years of helping area students excel

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:25 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas educator is retiring Thursday after nearly half a century serving in schools, the last 43 of those in the Killeen ISD.

Harker Heights Elementary School Principal Carolyn Dugger is leaving her post after 20 years as principal, but her Killeen ISD journey first started as a 5th grade teacher in 1979.

“I simply love the children, the community, their families and the staff,” said Dugger, who ended her career where it all started.

She is a 1972 graduate of Killeen High School. Her first teaching job was in Morton in 1975 as a 5th grade teacher and girls’ basketball coach.

Dugger then moved to Lubbock where she served as a bilingual kindergarten teacher from 1976-1979.

At the end of that school year, Dugger made the move back home to Killeen after she accepted a job at Peebles Elementary, where she stayed until 1993.

Dugger moved to Brookhaven Elementary for the next school year and then on to Fowler Elementary where she taught first and second grade until 1996.

In 1999, Dugger moved to administration serving as the assistant principal at Harker Heights Elementary until 2002 before being promoted to principal.

Duggar is credited with the success of many students and praised by fellow employees for all she’s poured into the district.

Harker Heights Elementary School Principal Carolyn Dugger is leaving her post after 20 years as...
Harker Heights Elementary School Principal Carolyn Dugger is leaving her post after 20 years as principal(Courtesy Photos)

She is credited with bringing and expanding bilingual programs to multiple campuses.

“We’ve studied and implemented sound instructional strategies where the bilingual children are quite successful,” Dugger said. “By teaching all the new skills in their thinking language and giving them vocabulary in their second language, they truly become bilingual, biliterate and strong in both languages.”

The longtime educator said she’s considered retiring for a few years but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she knew it was time to serve in a way she’d never done before.

“When the pandemic hit, I knew it wasn’t time to leave, but to give back to the community and the school district for whom I’m so grateful,” Dugger said. “The school district has given me so many blessings that it was time to serve.”

Killeen ISD held three days of celebrations for Mrs. Dugger before school ended this semester.

Her official retirement is Thursday and she plans to wrap it up by going to lunch with her secretary and staff.

She says even though she plans to spend her free time in retirement with family, she won’t be a stranger to the district she’s called home for decades.

“I will continue to support KISD but in a different capacity,” Dugger said. “I will be a volunteer because now I’m going to be a full time wife, mother and grandmother.”

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